Grounding Mushroom Watercress and Spinach Lasagna with Vegan Béchamel

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While I love lasagna, I am not a huge fan of red sauce. When I began cutting dairy out of my diet I really missed that amazing creamy béchamel sauce that is used often in white lasagna. The recipe below could be made using a traditional béchamel and following the rest of the directions I have outlined. For a yummy creamy vegan version, this is what you need to do.

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You will need to prepare your cashews for the cream sauce by soaking them for al least an hour (unless you have a super blender ie, Vitamix!).

You can use no cook lasagna noodles or regular noodles. If you are using regular noodles get a large pot of water to a rolling boil and follow package directions. You will need enough cooked lasagna noodles to create three layers in your baking dish.

First you will need to prepare the mushrooms and greens.

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For the mushrooms, take one teaspoon of olive oil and heat it in your saute’ pan. When the oil begins to shimmer add one clove of chopped garlic and cook until it begins to soften, about one minute.

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Add in your sliced mushrooms and saute’ 3-5 minutes, then add the thyme.

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For the greens saute’ one teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of garlic until the garlic begins to soften. Next add your greens and a pinch of salt and cook them down until they just begin to wilt.

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Set the mushrooms and greens aside until you are ready to assemble the lasagna.

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Now it is time to make your vegan béchamel. Add the strained and soaked cashews to your blender with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and blend until smooth. This will give you a relatively thick creamy cashew milk similar to half n half.

Take your vegan butter and melt it in a sauce pan. When the butter has melted add mustard powder and nutmeg and cook until you can smell the spices. Add 1/4 cup of flour and cook for a minute or two until the flour is fully incorporated into the butter. Add two teaspoons of lemon, one teaspoon of lemon juice and the cashew milk from your blender. Whisk until the sauce begins to thicken a bit and all of the flour and butter has melted into the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.

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To assemble the lasagna you will need a 9″ x 13″ or 3 qt baking dish. Take a few spoonfuls of the béchamel and cover the bottom of the dish. Lay one layer of noodles on top of the sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Next add your mushrooms in an even layer across the bottom of the dish and cover with another layer of cream sauce and then a layer of noodles. Repeat this layering process with the greens and more cream and finish the top with a layer of noodles.

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To make the crunchy top you will need one tablespoon of vegan butter and one cup of panko breadcrumbs. Melt the butter down in a small saucepan and mix in the panko breadcrumbs until they are evenly coated with the butter. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top of the lasagna and bake at 375º for about 30 minutes or until top begins to brown. Enjoy!

Grounding Mushroom and Greens Lasagna

Grounding Mushroom and Greens Lasagna

Ingredients

    For the noodles
  • 9 long lasagna noodles, or enough to make three layers in a 9" x 13" dish
  • For the mushrooms
  • 1 10oz pack baby portobello mushrooms sliced
  • 2 8oz packages of white mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic diced
  • For the greens
  • 4 cups watercress roughly chopped
  • 4 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic diced
  • For the vegan béchamel
  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cooking sherry
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • For the crunchy topping
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

    For the noodles
  • Prepare enough noodles to cover three layers of your dish according to package directions. Roughly 9 13" long noodles.
  • For the mushrooms
  • Saute garlic in olive oil until soft and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes and then add the thyme and a pinch of salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside until you are ready to assemble your lasagna.
  • For the greens
  • Saute garlic in olive oil until soft and add the watercress, spinach and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the greens begin to wild. Transfer cooked greens to a bowl and set aside until you are ready to assemble your lasagna.
  • for the béchamel
  • Drain the soaking water from your cashews and place the cashews in a blender with 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Leave the cashew cream in the blender until you are ready to use it. In a saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add mustard powder and nutmeg until fragrant. Add in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes until the flour has absorbed the butter. Next add the sherry, lemon juice and cashew cream to the saucepan and whisk until the ingredients have melded and the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Assemble the lasagna
  • Cover the bottom of a 9"x 13" baking dish with a layer of béchamel and put down one layer of noodles on top. Add the mushrooms in an even layer on top of the noodles and spoon an even layer of the béchamel over the mushrooms. Lay down a layer of noodles. On top of noodles add the greens in an even layer and top with a coating of béchamel.Last add one more layer of noodles. and the remaining béchamel.
  • For the crunchy topping
  • In a small saucepan melt one the butter and add in the panko breadcrumbs until evenly mixed. Sprinkle on top of the entire lasagna and bake at 375º for 30 minutes, or until top is nice and brown. Enjoy!
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